Boric acid is a common over-the-counter solution to balance vaginal yeast and bacteria, and relieve symptoms associated with. Boric acid has been used for over a century to address vaginal infections—but it’s important to understand the very real limitations of this product when used for vaginal health concerns.
What Is Boric Acid?
Boric acid is a white, water-soluble compound made up of boron, oxygen, and hydrogen. It’s considered a caustic chemical, which means that if it gets in contact with your skin, it may cause irritation and injury. In addition, it becomes harmful if swallowed or inhaled in large quantities.
Nonetheless, boric acid is still commonly used in household products, as well as some personal care products. In the United States, there are over five hundred products being sold that contain boric acid, including laundry detergents, household cleaners, fertilizers, pest-control products and products meant to treat vaginal conditions.
Here’s what you should know about using boric acid for vaginal health.
Why Is Boric Acid Used for Bacterial Vaginosis?
In its natural form, boric acid has both antifungal and antiviral properties, which is likely why boric acid suppositories became a popular product for bacterial vaginosis. It has been used for over 100 years to help fight various vaginal infections, including both bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.
Research on Boric Acid and Bacterial Vaginosis
There is somewhat limited research of boric acid and bacterial vaginosis, despite its popularity as a product. A 2019 retrospective
Some other This study evaluated 58 participants who used boric acid vaginal suppositories along with The study found that the treatment had an 88% cure rate within seven weeks. At 12 weeks, this combination treatment had a 92% cure rate.
We get it—you’re probably thinking, “Wow, boric acid sounds great! Sign me up!” However, more research is required to determine effectiveness and safety.
Things seem promising, but there’s still a lot for researchers to learn about this option for BV relief. The evidence so far suggests that it may be a reasonable option, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you.
Does Boric Acid Restore pH balance?
You’re likely already aware that bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. When this happens, the pH balance is also thrown off and causes an overgrowth of bacteria (often, the overgrowth is of a bacteria called Gardnerella vaginalis). Typically, when the vagina is healthy, it’s naturally an acidic environment, allowing it to maintain an optimal pH level and fend off various pathogens. But unfortunately, when an infection is present, the vagina requires a little help to restore its pH levels.
Because boric acid is an acid with anti-microbial properties, it can possibly help restore the vagina’s pH levels. Still, there’s little evidence to support this claim and it's ultimately unclear how boric acid can affect vaginal pH (if it can at all).
How To Use Boric Acid to Treat BV
If you were to try a boric acid suppository, you’d have to insert it into your vagina and then allow it to dissolve for 4-12 hours. Different brands have different directions for use, but the course of treatment is typically 7-14 days.
Do Doctors Recommend Boric Acid Suppositories?
Most healthcare providers do not recommend boric acid for treatment of BV based on the lack of evidence. Boric acid is not to be used during pregnancy.
If you’ve been diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis, your doctor or midwife will likely give you a prescription for antibiotics like metronidazole or clindamycin. Some antibiotics are taken orally, and others are available as a cream or gel that you insert directly into the vagina. If you’re someone that experiences recurrent bacterial vaginosis, your medical provider may suggest another round of antibiotics.
What Are the Side Effects of Boric Acid Suppositories?
Some common side effects of boric acid are:
- A burning sensation
- Watery vaginal discharge
- Vaginal discomfort and irritation
Boric acid can be toxic if ingested, so it’s important to avoid oral sex during the course of vaginal use. It makes sense to avoid penetrative sex, too (whether with a penis or a sex toy).
So, Are Boric Acid Suppositories Safe For BV?
Boric acid can be an effective supportive product to help balance the vaginal flora. Antibiotics are the standard of care for BV and it seems that boric acid might be best used in combination with antibiotics or for maintenance. Although boric acid vaginal suppositories are available to be purchased without a prescription and are relatively inexpensive, you should consider contacting your medical provider before use. Your provider can provide guidance on dosage, length of treatment, and more.
If you’re looking for an effective over-counter product for bacterial vaginosis, FemiClear BV Symptoms, is our solution that has not only been lab-tested but also consumer-tested. This two-day dose, fast-acting, easy-to-use product tackles troublesome symptoms like annoying itchiness, fishy odors, and excess discharge.
With just 2 doses, 91% of users reported that their bacterial vaginosis symptoms were eliminated** after using FemiClear for BV Symptoms. If you need relief from bacterial vaginosis symptoms, try a product that kills 99.9% of the primary bacteria causing BV with natural and organic ingredients like thymol (a powerful plant-derived antimicrobial).
Claims based on clinical and/or in vitro laboratory (non-human/non-animal) studies, and traditional homeopathic practice (not accepted clinical medical evidence); not FDA evaluated.
*An independent accredited lab performed an in vitro (non-human/non-animal) time-kill study to measure the amount Gardnerella Vaginalis that was killed. An overgrowth of Gardnerella Vaginalis, can cause a bacterial vaginosis (BV) infection, but might not be the only cause. Data on file.
**As self-reported in a comprehensive IRB-approved study of >100 women. Individual results may vary. Data on file.